Pakistan community in Aylesbury in uproar as country remains on Government's red list

British citizens can now travel to other countries that have higher infection rates.

By James Lowson
Friday, 6th August 2021, 11:33 am
Updated Friday, 6th August 2021, 11:36 am

The Pakistan community in Aylesbury has been left stunned at the Government's decision to keep the country on the red list.

The Government reviewed its travel lists yesterday (August 5), allowing movement between more countries without the need to quarantine, but kept its doors closed to Pakistan.

Reuters has the infection rate for Pakistan at 14 cases per 100,000 people, whilst India's rate shows as 20 cases per 100,000.

Councillor Raj Khan

Despite the neighbouring country having a higher infection rate it has been moved to the Amber list allowing Covid-negative people from the UK to visit.

Pakistan was not given that categorisation and most of the 18,000 members of the community in Aylesbury have gone nearly 18 months without the opportunity to visit friends and family.

The four countries most recently moved onto the Amber list have a higher infection rate than Pakistan's current figure.

Councillor Raj Khan BEM, a former Aylesbury Mayor has accused the government of 'putting the economy before people'.

Already two MPs have contacted the government asking for an explanation regarding the decision to block travel to Pakistan. Yasmin Qureshi the Bolton South East MP and Naz Shah Bradford Southwest MP both announced they would be contacting the government looking for further clarity.

Councillor Khan who represents Bedgrove, told The Bucks Herald he received a call from a man in tears, devastated about not knowing when he'd next be able to visit Pakistan.

Councillor Khan said: "It is absolutely shambolic. They are putting the economy before people. People in this town are grieving, they have lost loved ones.

"There are people who lost loved ones whose last wish was to be buried in their own country, that haven't been able to travel.

"I supported everything the Government did last year, but this decision is not based on evidence. I urge the people of Buckinghamshire to lobby their MPs, to lobby their councillors to write to the Government."

The former Aylesbury Mayor also urged current Aylesbury MP Rob Butler to step up and support the people in his constituency by challenging this decision in parliament.

The Councillor detailed that the 'glimmer of hope' that maybe Pakistan might finally be reopened to British residents, made yesterday's decision all the more devastating.

The Government states its criteria for deciding which countries British residents can travel to and from is decided based on a series of Covid-related factors.

The four main factors listed are: percentage of a country's population that is vaccinated, the current infection rate, whether variants of concern are prevalent in the country and that nation's access to high level scientific data and genomic sequencing.

Figures from Our World in Data show that 8.2% of Pakistan's population have received their first dose of a vaccine and 2.1% of the population are fully vaccinated against Covid.

The four nations removed from the red list, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and India, all have a higher percentage of their population fully vaccinated.

Of the four newly amber countries India has the next lowest percentage of its population fully vaccinated at 8.2%, according to Our World in Data.

The Bucks Herald mentioned reports of the low rollout figures being the key reason Pakistan remains closed to the UK. But the Councillor dismissed this, highlighting India's low vaccination numbers, advising that a country that largely populated having only 8% fully vaccinated is no worse than the Pakistan rollout.